This generation of students are among the most eco-conscious ever to have entered the university system. However, it is easy to slip into bad habits like leaving lights on, devices on standby, and running the heating too high in the cold months. There are plenty of ways you can reduce both your carbon footprint and your household bills.
Take care of the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.
Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
It may seem like the most obvious thing to say, but we are not recycling enough stuff. Councils now routinely have recycling collections, but they don’t take everything – just the basics like metal, plastic, cardboard, and paper. To recycle stuff like tetra pack, clothing, shoes, broken crockery, and damaged electronics, you need to check your local household waste recycling centre and do a monthly trip.
De-Plastic Your Life
Supermarkets have been slow to reduce the amount of plastic packaging. You can’t get away from all of it, but there are other steps you can take. Don’t buy bagged fruit and vegetables. Instead, buy loose and take your own containers. Some produce is moving to more sustainable packaging such as cardboard and cellophane (a derivative of paper, cotton, and hemp manufacturing).
No doubt your whole life your parents have told you to turn off lights and not to leave devices on standby and save money. Well now, you’re helping reduce the amount of energy used as well as keeping the bills down. Other measures include switching to low wattage LEDs over traditional light bulbs and energy efficient bulbs. This will also make a dent in your annual electricity bill.
Also, close your curtains after dark when it’s cold! You’ll be amazed at how much heat they can keep in.
Less discussed but just as important is the amount of water you use in a typical day. There are plenty of things you can do to reduce your bill and your water output. Ensure you use the short flush on the toilet, take showers (and most importantly, don’t have it too hot or stay in there for too long). If you have outdoor or indoor plants, you can save water by putting a bucket outside to catch rainwater with which to water them. Also, don’t leave the tap running when brushing your teeth.
Keep Windows Closed
Climate change means milder autumn and winter days in the UK. Too warm? Turn the heating down, the temperature will soon drop. Leaving windows open while keeping the heating high is not good for the environment or your pocket. The other issue with open windows is the potential to go out and forget you left it open. You risk intruders, and you also risk returning to a freezing house.